Patrick Cress killing: Source of a rumor could solve teen’s decades-old murder

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KIRKLAND — A teenage boy was murdered in the Kingsgate area of Kirkland, and rumors of his death spread at a party long before his body was found. Patrick Cress’ murder is still a mystery almost three decades later. Pat’s father, Dick describes his son saying,  “Pat was a natural. He enjoyed the outdoors. We never had to spank him or punish him. All we had to do was restrict him to his room so that he couldn’t go outside.” Pat’s sister Kimberly Burke adds,“The sun came up, he was up and he was moving. He didn’t dislike school, but school meant you were indoors and so always on the run.”

Pat Cress was the third of four children and the families oldest boy. He was only 13 years old when he was murdered. Detective Mike Mellis with the King County Sheriff’s Office  is the lead on this case and said, “On  Friday night, April 30th, 1983, Pat asked if he could spend the night at a friend’s house. That friend lived about 500 yards north of where we’re standing right now.” Dick Cress adds, “We gave him permission to spend the night. He said, ‘great,’ grabbed a couple of things took off out the patio door, slammed it shut like he usually did and that was the last we saw of him.  Not the last we heard from him, but the last we saw of him.”

Mellis continued, “They spent Friday night at the boy’s house. Saturday morning Pat called his parents up and asked if he could stay another night. His parents said no. ‘Come on , we’ll pick you up.’ Pat’s sister even told him, ‘hey come and you’ll go to the Ever Green Speedway races with us Saturday night and Pat said, ‘okay, I’ll do it.’

Pat’s parents were fairly new to the area and didn’t know exactly where Pat was staying so they planned to meet at a Safeway less than a mile away.

“He said, ‘okay’ so we hung up the phone- he said goodbye to that family and right out the door,” Cress said.

This was at 12:30pm on a sunny, Saturday afternoon.

Cress recalled,  “We got there about 5-10 minutes to one. It wasn’t really far from home so.. no Patrick. We waited ‘til about 1:30pm- no Patrick. I think it was between 1.30pm and 1.45pm that my wife called home and talked to Kim and she said, ‘Yea, he called a little while ago and I told him you were on the way to pick him up and he said something to the  tune of, ‘okay sis, love you bye.’ That was the last we heard from him.”

Eighteen days later and about 500 yards away- a worker on a new Apartment complex made a gruesome discovery.

Detective Mellis said, “The construction worker was fixing one of those ditches and he discovered the body of a young boy right there in the middle of the pond.” That boy was later identified as 13-year old Pat Cress. Mellis continued, “The cause of death was blunt force injury to his head. It looked like he sustained a single, devastating blow to his head.”

Police interviewed several students and friends of Pat. To the surprise of investigators, they were notified about information being spread at a party the week before Pat’s body was found.

“It was at that party that a rumor was heard. That rumor was Pat Cress is dead, Pat Cress is in water and Pat Cress had his head bashed in” Mellis said. “Detectives tried to trace the source of that rumor, interviewed as many teenagers as they could, but at the time, they hit a wall and never got to the source of those rumors.”

Dick Cress said, “There are several people high on my suspect list,but most of  those people that we consider a danger are dead.” Mellis agreed, “We don’t have a specific person of interest at this time, what we have is a lot of deceased people that I would have loved to talk to, but they died from either suicide, traffic accidents or in the case of one –somebody who was so devastated in a traffic accident that he’s been in a coma for almost 20 years.”

Now police and family are hoping just one person will come forward and give them the final piece to the puzzle. Mellis pleaded with the public to come forward with what they know,“I think this case can be solved by one phone call. By one person telling us what they knew about that day in April 1983.”

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